Category: Home Buyers Information

Beware of these Property Defects –  can be expensive to repair.

Aluminum Wiring

Shortly after aluminum wiring became common place, some overheating problems started to appear. These included flickering lights, warm cover plates on switches and receptacles, and burned insulation on wiring. Any kind of overheating condition can lead to the possibility of fires.

1. Softness: Aluminum is a much softer metal than copper. Electricians who had always worked with copper found that it was very easy to nick, cut, or crush the aluminum wiring when removing insulation or making connections. They had to be gentler. Damaged wire creates local hot spots and results in overheating.

2. Creeping: When electricity flows through wire, the wire heats up. Aluminum wire expands more than copper when it heats up. The repeated expansion and contraction as the wire heated up and cooled down caused to the wire to creep out from under the terminal screws that held the wire in place. This wire creeping resulted in loose connections and overheating.

3. Rusting: When metals rust, they form an oxide on the surface. Rust on steel is red, rust on copper is green, and rust on aluminum is white. It’s not a big problem when copper wiring rusts, since the copper oxide that forms is electrically conductive. It doesn’t interfere with the wire’s ability to do its job. When aluminum wiring rusts, the white oxide is not a very good electrical conductor. It does interfere with the flow of electricity, and again, can cause overheating.

Read more about Electrical Deficiencies

Galvanized Plumbing

Most insurance companies will not insure a home with galvanized plumbing because it is well past its predicted life span. Galvanized steel pipes, commonly installed in homes prior to 1950, have an average life expectancy of 40–50 years. Over time, the galvanized steel pipes begin to rust or corrode from the inside out, resulting in reduced water pressure and restricted water flow. This presents an increased risk of leaks or ruptures occurring in the pipes and the potential for flood damage. Your insurance company will probably require you to replace galvanized plumbing with copper and plastic piping before providing you with insurance coverage.
Asbestos in your HOME
Older homes will typically have some asbestos as it was used in drywall, floor tile, ceiling tile and in many types of insulation. Removing asbestos can be expensive and involves setting up decontamination and clean zones in the home. Recommend obtaining multiple quotes for any removal. All asbestos removed has to be tagged and disposed of at an approved waste site. If you are thinking about removing the asbestos yourself buy the proper protective equipment and follow accepted guidelines for removal process. Your health could be at stake if you ignore the hazards involved in asbestos removal. Asbestos, as a product, was removed from acceptable housing materials around the mid-1970’s, so if the home is older than 1970, chances are high that somewhere within the home, there is asbestos.

Read more about Plumbing Deficiencies

Knob & Tube Wiring

Knob and Tube Wiring, also called Open Wiring, was a common wiring method used in the 1900’s to the late 1940’s.. While not illegal, it can be in poor condition with failing insulation and cracked tubes and insulators. Most home insurance companies will not insure a home with knob and tube wiring installed. Many times an older home will have most of the knob and tube wiring removed but often there may be a circuit or two that is overlooked or ignored due to shoddy workmanship. Never install insulation over exposed knob and tube wiring as it requires an open air space to dissipate any heat build up.

Potable Water Tests

A water potability test will check the water for the presence of the most common, dangerous bacteria such as Coliform, E-coli, and Fecal coliform. Testing can be performed on well water or tap water. In addition to checking for harmful bacterium, a chemical test can be conducted to check for magnesium, iron, lead, fluoride, chlorine, and other chemical compound levels in your water. Most home buyers do not know that if you are buying a home with a well that a typical water potability test done by your Realtor at your kitchen or bathroom sink will not detect feces in the water if there is a UV light and Cartridge Filter installed. The water must be collected prior to any water treatment devices such as softeners, carbon filters, reverse osmosis units and ceramic filters. Bypass, remove or disconnect these devices to ensure that the sample is taken before the water enters these treatment devices.

WETT Certified Inspections

If you use a wood burning appliance in your home, such as a wood stove, wood-fired furnace, pellet stove or wood-burning fireplace, and never had it WETT inspected, you should arrange for a WETT inspection for the safety of you and your family. Most insurance companies will also require you to obtain a WETT inspection on a new installation, on an existing installation that has undergone a modification, or when you purchase a home equipped with a wood burning appliance.

Building Permit’s

Building permits are required for just about any renovation  project.  When you buy a home which has had work done without a building permit you are Steel Beam Improperly Supportedassuming responsibility for any deficiencies that may exist.  Plumbing and electrical systems were installed without proper inspection prior to enclosing work.  Any structural change requires a design and a building permit.  Protect yourself and your investment by having a professional home inspection prior to purchasing property.

The steel beam supported on concrete column is improperly installed.  This should have been observed prior to occupancy permit being issued by City Building Department.  This unsafe condition would have continued until possible failure of support except for detection during home inspection.

Read more about Structural Deficiencies

Protect your family and home from Property Defects by calling the Alliston Home Inspector.

Barrie, ON is consistently being noticed as a “investment opportunity” city with buyers that are flocking to the city to invest in Real Estate.  Recently Barrie was ranked only behind Waterloo, Kitchener and Hamilton by the Real Estate investment Network.  The “REIN” cites the annexation of Innisfil as a future engine that will drive development in the area.

Barrie has the following amenities to offer new families:

Waterfront Parks –  Barrie abounds with parks spread throughout the city.  Numerous parks have beaches and picnic areas for residents.City of Barrie
400 Hwy Access –  Most of Barrie’s traffic moves across the city via 400 hwy.  Commuters also benefit by having access to major cities south of Barrie
Hospital –  Royal Victoria Hospital is continually growing to meet the needs of the community
Recreation – Every section of the city has a Recreation complex with swimming, hockey, figure skating, gyms and sports fields
Schools – Barrie has a multitude of schools spread across the city.  New high school is currently being planned for near future
Expansion – Barrie has recently acquired land from Innisfil which will be developed in near future.

Buses – Although slow, Barrie’s buses have lots of room for riders who don’t want to drive their cars.
Libraries – Two large libraries provide book lending, research books and video loans to residents.

Many out of town property investors are buying townhouses and “rent to own properties” in Barrie, due to its close proximity to Toronto and the affordable prices that make properties attractive to purchasers.

Barrie currently has a population of over 143,000 and has grown 5.7% since 2006.  The City takes in over 100 sq km of land and has a large networks of parks, many of which are on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay.  Barrie is currently in the process of extending it park land along Lakeshore Drive which hopefully will improve the enjoyment of the water by its citizens. The Barrie waterfront is the City’s greatest asset and attraction, characterized by outstanding natural features, vibrant and diverse public spaces and high-quality recreational facilities. It is a prized and shared resource for recreation, economic development, events and programming on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay.

Currently Barrie’s inventory of homes available for sale is low compared to previous years creating a “sellers market” which has resulted in many properties being sold above their asking price.  Some Realtor’s estimate that the average home price in Barrie has already risen over 9% in 2015.  Many seniors in Toronto have chosen Barrie as their retirement location, cashing in on a hot real estate market in Toronto and purchasing property in the Barrie and surrounding areas.

Mortgage rates are also part of the reason that Real Estate is experiencing substantial growth.  Low rates are allowing people, such as first time home buyers, to invest in their first home at an affordable cost.  One thing that has been consistent over the years,  the increasing value of Real Estate,  even when there has been downward dips in housing prices, they have alway rebounded regaining and surpassing previous highs.  Many people are investing in property as a hedge against inflation.  They realize that just leaving money in a bank will eventually deteriorate the value of their investment’  as inflation steadily eats away at its value.

When purchasing an investment property you need the services of a Professional Home Inspector.  The Barrie Home Inspector, has been inspecting homes for over 10 years and is a Certified Building Code Official with the Ontario Building Officials Association.  Roger is also a Real Estate investor with both Commercial and Residential investments, which allows you to benefit from his experience and expertise.  Free Thermal Imaging scan of your home is also included with every property inspection.  The Barrie Home inspector can give you “Peace of Mind” when making your next purchase.

 

Do I Have to waste money on having a Home Inspection?  This question crosses the mind of many home buyers.   When making the largest investment in your future, knowing what your buying can never be a bad thing.   A Professional Home inspection will identify issues and deficiencies with a home that may otherwise go unnoticed.  Small items on a home that are ignored can often become a very expensive repair and project.

Do I Have to Attend the Home Inspection?  Yes, if at all possible attend the home inspection.  This will be opportunity to become educated about your home and its major systems.  With over 10 years of home inspection experience and 40 years of building inspection experience the Barrie Home Inspector can provide valuable advice and point out deficiencies, explaining their importance and any recommendations for repair.

Is There a Pass or Fail of a Home Inspection?  No, there is no such “bench mark”Buying Your Home Questionswhich can be given to any home.   A home inspection points out existing deficiencies and any potential expenses, such as roof life expectancy or remaining life for your gas furnace for example.  Every person has a different view point on each and every item covered by a home inspection.  For a professional inspector to impose his point of view to a client would be very unprofessional.  The home inspection identifies the major and minor deficiencies in a home, the inspector will provide professional information about the issues but in the end it is the buyer’s choice whether to buy the property after being informed about the overall condition of the home.

Home Inspection Waiver – Typically home owners will have from 5 to 10 days to have a home inspection on the home they are purchasing.  This contingency provides that if conditions are found during the home inspection that are significant, you can back out of your offer free of any penalties.  In a Seller’s Market sometimes conditions are waived by buyers when facing a “bidding war” on a property they want to purchase.

Importance of Building Permits – If a renovation was completed on your home and no building permit was taken out you will be assuming responsibility for all the deficiencies that may be present.  When a building permit is issued the builder or contractor will submit plans for approval to the local building department.  Inspections are then carried out prior to any electrical, plumbing, structural or heating systems are covered in.   A final inspection is completed and if there are no problems the Permit is closed with the Final Inspection.

 

Don't Buy a Money PitOver the course of the past ten years I have come across many homes which have had problems that would scare any rational buyer away. Unfortunately not all buyers have a home inspection and find out the hard way about the true condition of their home.

Here are some deficiencies listed in no particular order which may give you some cause for thought.

Potable Water – Recently this past summer I was inspecting a home where the dug well was being inspected by a licensed well inspector. Both Realtors had already performed their own well test and the water had passed the requirements for potability. the well inspector asked me to look at the well after he had removed the cover and there was feces floating on top of water. The home had a UV light filter and a cartridge filter installed which removed enough contaminants to allow water to pass. The clients walked away from this particular home.

WETT Inspections – Many times individuals call to have a wood stove that they have been using inspected due to a request from their insurance company. Wood stoves have to meet the required distances to combustible material as listed on a plate usually located on back of the stove. Many older stoves were not Certified which then requires a minimum distance of 48 inches from front, back and sides to combustible material. When buying a home always request a WETT Inspection to ensure you can continue to use appliance safely.

Asbestos – Many older homes had boilers and/or furnaces that was insulated with asbestos. Over the years the boilers were removed and most of the visible asbestos was also removed. Unfortunately many ducts which travel between floors or under floor boards still were wrapped with asbestos. Your trained home inspector will usually detect this asbestos and often the seller will remove the asbestos at their expense. If you fail to detect the asbestos then you will be responsible for the expense of removal.

Knob & Tube Wiring – Homes built prior to the 1950’s usually had knob and tube wiring installed. Many insurance companies will not insure a home with any knob and tube wiring installed. Many times during a home inspection I have found knob and tube circuits still in use and some which have even been used to extend an existing circuit during a home renovation. Some home owners and some electricians will skip removing all the knob an tube wiring because it is hard to access or they just think no one will ever notice or detect the remaining circuits.

Galvanized Plumbing – Galvanized plumbing was used in built in the early 1960’s and earlier and was quite common. Many insurance companies will not insure a home which has pressurized galvanized plumbing lines. Galvanized plumbing can contain lead which has collected from old lead supply lines and is known for corrosion which can reduce water flow, especially in the hot water line. Galvanized pipes are also known for corroding at joints and should be regularly inspected for potential leaks.

Vermiculite Insulation – Vermiculite is a naturally occurring product which is treated with heat to create insulation. One particular mine in Libby, Montana produced a lot of this particular product which was later found to contain asbestos. The only way to determine whether asbestos is present is to have samples collected and then sent to lab for testing. Removing and replacing asbestos for a small bungalow can start at around $15,000.00 and up. Many people have just installed newer type insulation over existing vermiculite in an effort to make detection difficult.

Aluminum Wiring – Check with your insurance company prior to buying a home with aluminum wiring. According to the US insurance company statistics having aluminum wiring in your home can increase the risk of fire by 55%. Everyone has a different point of view on the issues of aluminum wiring and as a consumer it is advised you educate yourself on the implications of buying a home with aluminum wiring installed.

Foundations – Earlier this year I received a phone call from an individual who had bought a recently renovated property. After the purchase was complete, without a home inspection, his neighbours informed him that there was no foundation for home. The seller had constructed a fake foundation cover while the home was actually built on wood logs sitting on the ground.

Building Permits – Many Do-It-Yourself contractors think nothing of totally renovating a basement without obtaining a building permit. If you buy such a home you are assuming responsibility for everything in the home. I have inspected homes under 10 years old that have improper electrical wiring and plumbing that is visible in renovated basement. If the home was ever inspected by electrical, plumbing or building inspector the walls and floors would probably have to be removed and all work redone. There is no insurance for this type of problem and as the home owner you would be totally liable for all costs.

Flooding – After buying a home a client of mine discovered mould on walls and flooring when she moved in to home. She called me back to assist her in determining what had happened to cause this problem. After thoroughly investing the basement I went to the exterior to find a probable cause and found nothing. I then checked with neighbours to see if they had encountered a similar problem. Bingo, the one neighbour informed me that her daughter had to go over to house to mop up a flood caused by a sump pump failure which the seller would not acknowledge or disclose. This eventually ended up in small claims court where settlement was reached in favour of my client.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware Ultimately when buying a home the responsibility is solely that of the buyer. That is why it is so important for potential home buyers to educate themselves prior to deciding what home to buy.

Most people have a home inspection prior to purchasing a new home and home sellers know this. A home inspection cannot protect you from sellers who knowingly hide or fail to disclose material defects in a home. For example, say the subject property has a water issue in the basement every spring. The home sellers paint the walls with a fresh coat of paint and sell their home in the fall when there is no water issue. There is no moisture or water present to be detected by the home inspector and everyone is satisfied that the home is safe and sound by all appearances. The next spring you find water staining on your basements drywall and you want to find out why you were not told about this prior to purchasing home? You call your Realtor who will refer you to your home inspector, but what can he do? There was no water or moisture at time of inspection! If you talk to your neighbours and they inform you that this was an ongoing problem you could go after the sellers and recoup costs for repairs but that can be expensive and very stressful.

If you require a WETT Inspection of your fireplace or wood stove in the Barrie or Simcoe County area call Roger Frost at 705-795-8255 or Email Roger